Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Edward H. Lockwood Papers, 1937-1944

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, October 1996

Summary Information
Title: Edward H. Lockwood papers
Creator: Lockwood, Edward H., d. 1957
Inclusive dates: 1937-1944
Extent: 23 items
Abstract:
The Edward H. Lockwood papers contain letters documenting Lockwood's service with the Y.M.C.A. in Guangdong Province, China during the years of the Sino-Japanese conflict and Second World War.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1996. M-3307.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Edward H. Lockwood Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.


Biography

During the first half of the twentieth century, the Young Men's Christian Association of Canton (Guangzhou) assisted in establishing and administering numerous educational, missionary, and relief projects in Guangdong Province, China. For over twenty five years beginning in September, 1915, Edward Lockwood committed his life to the Y.M.C.A. in China, meeting his wife, Muriel (b. 1899) in the service, but experiencing prolonged periods of privation and separation in the course of his duties.

A native New Englander and apparently a graduate of Yale, Lockwood was stationed in Guangzhou when the Japanese invaded China in 1937. Although a mild pacifist who could not accept armed intervention, Lockwood was deeply affected by the indiscriminate Japanese bombing, and insisted that America must take an active role in preventing the aggression, favoring boycott or embargo as the most effective means. Writing to his reticent friend, Joe Kidd, a headmaster of Saint Luke's School in Wilton, Conn., he argued:

"If you could stand, as I have stood, and seen the bodies of men, women and children taken out of ruins made by Japanese bombs falling in the home of civilians, poor people, who have a very indirect connection with the defense China is making today, I am sure you would not show so much uncertainty in your letter. I have seen the coffins of children, rough boxes, being carried out of the ruins on the 24th of Noverment and hundreds of people huddled together, their few possessions gone in the destruction of more than 70 houses by two huge bombs. If you can stand by and think nothing of this or only think about doing something, then you are less of a man than I feel sure you are. This is not only a fight between Japan and China, it is a struggle that has meaning for the entire world" (1937 December 7).

After a furlough in 1939, Lockwood was transferred to Shaoguan (Kukong), a rough mining town 200 miles north of Guangzhou, where he remained for over four years. With the intensification of the war, Lockwood's frustration with the feeble American response mounted, compounded by the American willingness to slide into an alliance with Britain. While it would be incorrect to see Lockwood as an active supporter of fascism, he appears not to have been troubled by the politics of the German regime, and claimed largely to agree with Charles Lindberg's view of the war in Europe -- that it was a contest instigated by the British to salvage their Empire and by the Allied injustice toward the Germans at Versailles. "The cause of liberty in Great Britain's struggle with Germany," he argued, "is so mixed up with the cause of the Empire that it is impossible to tell where one begins and the other leaves off" (1940 July 11).

Between 1940 and 1944, Lockwood assisted Chinese efforts to keep their universities open in exile, coordinated the distribution of funds for the support of students, oversaw a vocational school in Shaoguan, and took on occasional civil defense responsibilities. Whatever remained of his pacifism was increasingly tested by the flood of refugees and by the destruction of war. Having seen the devastation of the city by almost daily air raids, he wrote "I could not be a pacifist in the face of such conditions," adding "If I could blow up the entire Japanese military leadership by one movement of the finger I would move that finger and thank God for the chance. I would not care, either, how much they would suffer. They deserve to suffer for what they have done" (1940 September 9). He remained enough of a pacifist, though, to support his son, Richard's (b. ca. 1920) more ardent pacifism, despite the probability that it would mean an end to Richard's education at Yale or possibly a stint in prison. Even after Roosevelt reinstituted the draft and the inevitable became tangible, Lockwood yearned for a massive outpouring of resistance among the young, longing to drive those responsible out of power. Yet slowly, he was drawn into accepting the necessity of American intervention.

In March, 1944, under the threat of a Japanese advance, civilians were ordered to evacuate Shaoguan. Though Muriel and daughters Dorothy (b. ca.1928) and Anne (b. ca.1933), who had seldom resided with Lockwood, left China for India, Lockwood chose to remain. While he survived the Japanese offensive of the summer, his whereabouts thereafter are unknown.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Edward H. Lockwood papers contains 23 letters, 19 of which were addressed to his friend Joe Kidd, a teacher and headmaster at Saint Luke's prep school in Wilton, Conn., and two each to his family and T.T. Poon, a Chinese official of the Y.M.C.A. Though few in number, these letters provide outstanding documentation of one man's service with the Y.M.C.A. during the years of the Sino-Japanese conflict and Second World War, and of the hardships inflicted on the Chinese civilian populations during the war.

Lockwood was highly educated and his letters are both impassioned and informative, though not always very long. His descriptions of Shaoguan during the war are particularly interesting, providing not only an American's impressions of the Chinese, but fine descriptions of the destruction, the refugees, and of Chinese efforts to keep their higher education system intact, even in exile. His occasionally blasé, occasionally anxious response to life beneath the bombs is intriguing and, at times, almost amusing.

The pre-1940 correspondence is particularly marked by a sense of frustration over American dithering in the face of Japanese aggression. Having twice lost all of his possessions when forced to flee before the Japanese, and having been witness to the devastation of war, Lockwood's feelings are easily understandable, though his particular mix of political perspectives is peculiar, to say the least. While excoriating the implicit racism of American foreign policy in Asia, for example, Lockwood offered only mild opposition to European fascism. While he was repelled by British imperialism, his feelings seem to have been largely attributable to an antipathy for their "antiquated," elitist social system, more than for its effects on the colonized nations.

Lockwood's personal life is not particularly well documented in this correspondence, however some information on his relationship with his eldest son, Richard (Dick), can be deduced. Several of Lockwood's letters to Joe Kidd include mention of his opinions on Dick's life choices, or give his opinions on Dick's growth into manhood, his career directions (or lack thereof), and his pacifism. That Lockwood was often separated from his wife and children is evident: while there seems to have been genuine affection in the family, work with the Y.M.C.A. seems to have been Lockwood's first priority. Finally, Lockwood's first letter to T.T. Poon contains his reflections on his quarter century of service with the Y.M.C.A. in China and just as interesting, his ideas on how he had been changed by China.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • China--History--1937-1945.
    • Dinners and dining--China.
    • Shaoguan Shi (China)--Description and travel.
    • Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945.
    • Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945--Aerial operations.
    • World War, 1939-1945.
    • Young Men's Christian Association (Guangzhou, China)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1, World War II Small Collections  
    Edward H. Lockwood papers,  1937-1944 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Lockwood was author of a pamphlet, Why a committee for justice to China? published by the Committee for Justice to China, ca.1937.

    Partial Subject Index
    Alcoholics
    • 1937 December 7-15
    Birthdays
    • 1940 July 11
    • 1944 June 15
    Bombing, Aerial--China
    • 1937 December 7-15
    • 1938 February 12
    • 1940 May 10
    • 1940 August 22
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1944 March 9
    Chess--China
    • 1941 April 19
    China--Description and travel
    • 1940 May 10
    • 1940 September 28
    China--History--1937-1945
    • 1937 December 7-15
    • 1938 February 12
    • 1941 March 31
    • 1941 May 29
    • 1944 March 9
    • 1944 June 10
    • 1944 June 15
    • 1944 August 2
    Chinese
    • 1938 January 5
    Chinese--Conduct of life
    • 1940 November 17
    Chinese--Religious life
    • 1937 December 7-15
    College students
    • 1938 January 14
    Communism--China
    • 1937 December 7-15
    Communism--Europe
    • 1944 August 2
    Cookery, Chinese
    • 1940 August 3
    Dinners and dining--China
    • 1940 July 11
    • 1940 September 28
    • 1944 June 15
    Domestics--China
    • 1938 January 5
    Draft
    • 1940 September 9
    Dragon boat festival
    • 1941 May 29
    Easter--China
    • 1941 April 19
    Fathers and sons
    • 1938 January 14
    • 1938 [February 12]
    • 1940 August 3
    Fires--China
    • 1940 August 3
    Friendship
    • 1944 July 12
    Great Britain
    • 1941 May 29
    Hangzhou (China)--History--1937-1945
    • 1938 February 12
    Jones, Stanley
    • 1937 December 7-15
    Ko, Ronald
    • 1941 May 29
    Marriage
    • 1944 July 12
    Methodist Church--Clergy--China
    • 1940 July 11
    Missionaries--China
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1940 September 26
    Pacifism
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1944 March 9
    Parent and child
    • 1944 July 12
    Pilots--China
    • 1937 December 7-15
    Presidents--United States--Election--1940
    • 1940 September 9
    Radios
    • 1940 May 10
    Rats--China
    • 1944 March 9
    Refugees--China
    • 1938 [February 12]
    • 1941 March 31
    Restaurants--China
    • 1944 June 15
    Retirement
    • 1944 July 12
    Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
    • 1940 September 9
    Schools--China
    • 1940 October 7
    Shaoguan (China)--Description and travel
    • 1940 May 10
    • 1940 June 7
    • 1940 August 3
    • 1940 August 22
    • 1940 September 9
    Sino-Japanese conflict, 1937-1945
    • 1937 December 7-15
    • 1938 February 12
    • 1940 June 7
    • 1940 August 3
    • 1940 August 22
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1941 March 31
    • 1944 June 10
    • 1944 June 15
    • 1944 August 2
    Teachers
    • 1938 [February 12]
    Tuberculosis--China
    • 1940 July 11
    Universities and colleges--China
    • 1941 March 31
    World War, 1939-1945
    • 1940 June 7
    • 1940 July 11
    • 1940 August 22
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1941 March 31
    • 1941 May 29
    • 1944 June 10
    • 1944 June 15
    • 1944 August 2
    World War, 1939-1945--War work
    • 1944 March 9
    Young Men's Christian Association (Guangzhou, China)
    • 1938 January 5
    • 1938 [February 12]
    • 1938 February 12
    • 1940 May 10
    • 1940 June 7
    • 1940 August 3
    • 1940 September 9
    • 1940 September 26
    • 1940 October 7
    • 1940 November 17
    • 1941 March 31
    • 1941 April 19